The VMware virtualization layer is common across VMware desktop products (such as VMware Workstation) and server products (such as VMware ESX/ESXi). This layer provides a consistent platform for development, testing, delivery, and support of application workloads.

The virtualization layer is organized as follows:

Each virtual machine runs its own operating system (the guest operating system) and applications.

The virtualization layer provides the virtual devices that map to shares of specific physical devices. These devices include virtualized CPU, memory, I/O buses, network interfaces, storage adapters and devices, human interface devices, and BIOS.